The best loyalty programs on the high seas

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The moment you disembark your first cruise you not only become a past passenger, you enter a loyalty community full of free onboard drinks, future booking discounts and sometimes invites to exclusive cruise cocktail parties.
Much like airline frequent flyer groups, cruise line loyalty programs have long been apart of the industry as a means of thanking passengers for their ongoing bookings.
But as the sector grows, with new lines and ships launching on the scene every year, companies have had to up their loyalty game, by adding new membership levels with more exclusive rewards for top returning passengers.
To help you and your clients get the best out of cruise line loyalty memberships, we have reviewed programs from some of Asia’s biggest cruise players.

Cruise line: Costa Cruises
The program: CostaClub
Tiers: CostaClub is divided into four tiers – Club Aquamarine, which requires 2,000 points for membership; Club Coral – 2,001 to 5,000 points; Club Pearl 5,001 or more; and Club Gold Pearl, which requires over 13,001 points and the cruisers must have completed at least three cruises within three years.
How are points earned: Members receive 100 points for every day on the cruise. Passengers travelling in Premium, Samsara or Suite cabins will earn 200 points a day. For every 52 euros spent onboard passengers will earn 40 points.
Benefits: Club Aquamarine members have access to a dedicated Costa telephone number, cocktail with the Captain and a souvenir photo, a fruit basket plus chocolate in the stateroom on gala event nights plus discounts on internet, wine and laundry packages.
Club Coral members receive all of the above plus a bottle of spumante while onboard.
And cruisers in the Club Pearl tier are given a gift at the end of the cruise; 10 euros worth of chips for the casino; luggage pick up on the final day; privileged and preferential disembarkation; dinner menu delivered to the stateroom; priority choice of dinner sitting at the restaurant; complimentary dinner; and privileged boarding.
Travellers lucky enough to have gained access to the Club Gold Pearl have access to a VIP waiting room at select ports and vouchers for purchasing photos and for use at the wellness centres.

Cruise line: Princess Cruises
The program: Captain’s Circle
Tiers: Princess Cruises’ loyalty program is divided into four tiers. Members are divided based on the number of cruises they’ve embarked on with the line. Gold Members join on their first cruise; members are promoted to Ruby on their fourth cruise; Platinums have cruised with the line more than six times; and Elite members have taken at least 16 cruises with Princess or spent 150 days or more on a Princess ships.
Benefits: Gold members who book early receive savings of up to $100 per person off their cruise. There’s also a 10 percent reduced deposit for all cruises excluding World Cruises and voyages of 45 days or longer.
Ruby members receive all the Gold benefits plus exclusive shoreside access to the Captain’s Circle help desk phone line and 10 percent off the purchase of a ‘Reflections DVD’ – a video filmed live during the cruise.
Platinum members receive preferred check-in and access to a platinum disembarkation lounge. There’s also complimentary internet credit of up to 500 minutes on cruises of 21 days or longer.
Meanwhile, Elite members receive priority ship to shore tender embarkation, priority disembarkation, shoe polishing service, complimentary laundry and mini bar, deluxe canapés throughout the cruise, upgraded bathroom amenities and afternoon tea served in the stateroom.

Cruise line: Royal Caribbean
The program: Crown & Anchor Society
Tiers: Royal Caribbean has a grand total of six tiers for its loyalty members to climb starting from Gold, which only requires three points to join; Platinum – 30 points; Emerald – 55 points; Diamond – 80 points; Diamond Plus – 175 points; and Pinnacle Club – 700 points.
How are points earned: Passengers earn one Cruise Point for every cruise night and double the points when staying in a suite.
Benefits: Instead of starting from the bottom, this time it’s important to note that Royal Caribbean’s Pinnacle Club members with 700 and 1,050 cruise points can convert their earnings into a free cruise. The guest will receive a balcony stateroom for a minimum seven-night sailing. A complimentary suite will be provided at 1,400 Cruise Points and every 350 thereafter. The price of the cruise fare is included but taxes and fees are not included.
Other benefits for the Pinnacle Club members include behind the scenes tours and a personalised label pin.
There’s also bonus gifts for Pinnacle Club and Diamond Plus members with 350 or more cruise points as well as concierge lounge access, personalised amenities, meals with an officer, access to the concierge lounge and priority seating at the theatre, ice show and AquaTheatre events.

Cruise line: Star Cruises
The program: Star Cruises Genting Rewards
Tiers: Genting Rewards are split into five tiers – Star, which cruisers can sign up for. There’s also Classic, Silver, Gold and Platinum but cruisers can only join these tiers by invitation.
Benefits: Members across the entire program receive special cabin rates, access to membership websites, an exclusive member publication, 15 percent off non-premium food and beverages and there’s also concert ticket discounts and five percent off spa and salon services.
Silver members also have access to discounts for passenger handling charge and fuel surcharges.
Gold membership holders receive exclusive event invitations and priority reservation for events and shows. Meanwhile Platinum members have access to priority lanes at food and beverage outlets, priority reservation on Captain’s Gala Dinner plus priority disembarkation and check-in.